Happy Thanks for Giving on Tuesday

by Rev. Norman Fong

December 2, 2019

norman fong

I was so happy to see San Francisco’s and San Jose’s Mayor come to Chinatown last week to offer free Turkeys to our Chinatown Residents who live in the Ping Yuen! It was amazing to have the two Mayors and the fire chief and the police of Central Station handing out turkeys to a long line of our Ping Yuen seniors and families.

ping yuen turkey giveaway mrs chang jok lee

ping yuen turkey giveaway

ping yuen turkey giveaway

ping yuen turkey giveaway

ping yuen turkey giveaway

ping yuen turkey giveaway

When I left the United States to live in Hong Kong for the first time (1977), I remember cooking a Turkey for my friends there (for the first time). Most of my friends living there didn’t have big ovens, but my Church Residence had one so I cooked a giant turkey for all of us to celebrate Thanksgiving in Hong Kong. Everyone was so happy and nice by saying the Turkey was great (even though it was my first time cooking one – don’t worry we had plenty of rice and gravy).

I think Thanksgiving is one of the Best American Holidays because it brings our families all together and also, people who are doing well in their lives donate a lot to the community and to charities. It’s getting more and more popular to make a donation to a non-profit on the Tuesday that follows Thanksgiving.

This coming Tuesday is what Facebook and Non-profits around the country call “GIVING TUESDAY”. Giving Tuesday was created when two organizations, the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation came together in 2012, about a month before that year's Thanksgiving. Facebook actually matches donations for non-profits up to $7 Million. Their intention was to set aside a day that was all about celebrating the generosity of giving - a day that encourages people to do good. Over the last 7 years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate and celebrate generosity. The only problem for us in the West Coast is that you have to get up really early to make the donation (5am San Francisco time). On the east coast it is 8am - so most of the donations that get matched by Facebook helps more non-profits in the East Coast. Last year, for example, my agency – Chinatown CDC didn’t get much because the people out here don’t wake up early! There are many non-profits who sign up for the Facebook match (even in Chinatown), but let’s see if anyone wakes up by 5am this coming Tuesday.

giving tuesday

If you cannot wake up early on Tuesday, you still can make a donation which you can write off on your taxes for the 2019 tax year if you donate before the end of December. Thanksgiving isn’t just about a giant turkey – although I now love to eat turkey especially with “Sticky Rice”. It’s also about being thankful for all that you have and giving to others who may be less fortunate. There are so many charities that help Chinatown and those in need. I hope you will consider donating to them or you can volunteer in person. I know that the San Francisco Interfaith Council (which I am a part of) opens a Winter Shelter for the Homeless too (because it gets so cold outside and a few churches open their doors for them to sleep at night until 7am). How will your family give this winter season? People are having a very hard time. I like to give more to those families living in Chinatown SROs. My home church - the Presbyterian Church in Chinatown - donates TOYs to the kids every year and also helps Chinatown CDC pass out free food two days a week. What can you do? THANKS FOR GIVING.

Originally published in Sing Tao Daily on December 1, 2019

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